Many think of Rotary International in terms of the individual Rotary clubs in their home towns, often regarding them as fundraisers for good causes. Some might regard Rotary as an early responder to disasters, as the Rotary Wheel is often seen on TV when aid from ShelterBox, Aquabox, Disaster Aid International or Water Survival Box arrives.
Probably not many know that Rotary International has its own charity - The Rotary Foundation (TRF) - which celebrates its centenary this month. What is now TRF started in 1917, 10 years after Rotary’s founder, Paul Harris, introduced the idea of service into the fledgling Rotary organisation that is worldwide today. In 1917, Rotary International president Arch Klumph proposed Rotary accept endowments so it could do more good in the world - everyone agreed.
From its first receipt of $26.50, TRF has since become a body that has donated over $3billion to humanitarian programmes – helped in no small way in recent years by two-for-one matching from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support Rotary’s aim of worldwide polio eradication. For every £1 we raise, the Gates’ Foundation adds £2. If that £1 is gift-aided to the Rotary Foundation UK (RFUK), it transforms to £3.75!
What is unique about TRF is that its overheads are small (3.3 per cent administration, 6.5 per cent fundraising expenses) because it has 1.2 million volunteers around the world that give their time freely to carry out projects within TRF’s six areas of focus -
· Peace and conflict resolution
· Disease prevention and treatment
· Water and sanitation
· Maternal and child health
· Basic education and literacy
· Economic and community development
The volunteers are Rotarians. Once a project is identified, clubs such as the Rotary Club of Buxton (RCB) often partner with Rotary clubs in the other parts of the world to undertake the project e.g. RCB partnered with the Rotary Club of Mombasa to support The Neema School Trust – a charity formed in 2003 by Hadfield couple Margaret and Geoff Trimby to provide the education infrastructure for primary school children in Kikambala, Kenya. RCB’s £1,867 (including gift aid) from its March 2017 Swimathon became a £3,000 gift to Neema School to complete and furnish its seventh classroom because of a £1,000 grant from TRF and ‘topping up’ by RCB’s own charity trust.
The magnificent thing about Rotary is that enables people to make a difference. If you have a cause you are passionate about, as an individual or an organisation, get in touch with the Rotary Club of Buxton to see how we can collaborate. You will have access to resources and programmes that can help you increase your personal and professional skills, gain world understanding and make lifelong friendships - this while bringing about sustainable, positive change in communities. Alternatively, support our programmes and projects. We are always looking for new ways of ‘Helping Communities Near and Far’ and for men and women to join us. Browse www.buxtonrotaryishere.co.uk and www.facebook.com/buxtonrotaryclub or contact club secretary Doug Jones by calling 01298 27774 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.